Iloinen Konkkaronkka – The happy Bunch
Reducing the gap between generations and promoting social cohesion in order to reverse population decline in rural areas.
The increasing isolation experienced in Rämsöö, a village of about 250 inhabitants in south west Finland, resulted in a growing gap between the elderly and the younger generations over time. There was no common meeting space and action was needed to reverse the decline of the community.
This project organised a weekly meeting in a local nursery led by a professional instructor doing joint activities with seniors and with the children of the nursery. Senior participants spent the first half of the meeting doing activities with the children such as reading stories and passing on traditional skills through baking and crafts. The second part of the meeting was just the seniors doing more integrative activities designed from them, such as board games, quizzes, brain teasers, memory lanes and outdoor activities. They also received tablets and training on how to use them - especially communication applications such as Skype and WhatsApp.
The project is considered a success. It was extended twice, as the meetings became an essential part of everybody’s lives and as the goals were achieved rapidly new goals kept being added. Rämsöö is now a very lively and well-connected town. This builds strong roots for the children for them to feel like Rämsöö really is their home and hopefully in the future as well.
Based on a poll among seniors they have felt a significant decrease in the sense of loneliness and feel like the project has raised their morale and made them active in various ways.